Ritual of Tale-Telling; For Each Soul Umade; A New Sky Beams; Postmortem for a Finger Withered Out

Ritual of Tale-telling
There is no tale-teller, no bagpipe
to thread these words in rhythms:
sounds, seizures, thoughts
         that linger and bloat a mind.
So, up on this space between breaths and
what goes for darkness, with torch fires that
          cast our figures back in time,
          shadows flailing in rush-wind
a man sits on a stool, inherits the mouths
of a thousand tale-tellers before him, their
          features reliving and slamming
          the crest of nightfall. He begins
with an aside– lulling the spirits that own his
voice, asking for a portion of wholeness– a
          bidding to what language would
          suffice his course, subduing the
many tangs a man's throat croons after: twilight,
twilight and its twitch for warmth, twilight & the
          consummation of soul. Once, again,
          he splits the tale in both palms, one
for each child, rubs them in twos until what we see
is a patch of light exiting his fingers, 
 turning clouds.
          Our fathers used to say: "nothing would
  come alive when there is no tale-teller."
For Each Soul Unmade, A New Sky Beams

Beneath a sun-cracked sky
a town thins into worship
for a god that caves
& hides in chests for temples.
A man stretches
between two walls, signaling
the length of time
it takes to commune with a god
too ugly to be seen.
Ahead of myopic dysfunction
mother snatches the light
in our eyes, buries them in her palm
beneath rows of talisman
just in case god forgets
that we– pilgrims without foot,
fishers trading boats, drained
of thirst half way through
a neap tide– are crouched still,
knees unearthing silt
in awaitance of a new sky.
This town, seamlessly drawn,
wears the heads of several men
hung out on poles like waist beads;
a contortion of likeness, image of god.
An overcharge of neon light
cleanses the night alongside
bees smacking through tents.
Knives cleave on the trot
& a man steps out to demystify
god; engineer a new sky.
Pulses hold, breaths seize
except ours– of course–
ours is a collection of petals
aligned in such linearity they pass
for pairs of teeth whitened
from tree barks.
We are honed into a circle,
the man's feet, firm on a ladder.
We watch him weave the sky
into patterns for us
& we agree henceforth
to name him god.
Postmortem for a Finger Withered Out

& how would it be so nicely told
that a finger departs from its palm
to wring a meal all by itself: god's
mouth is sore and what more
can be said: there is little satisfaction
in wholeness: a man flees from home–
elopes, if you choose to say it– to find
the ungathered portions of himself: &
on his way, he finds one whole self
in a woman's bulging stomach: for
he must retrieve what part he owns:
a repatriation of being: what is more
than punching open a belly to find yourself
there, gaunt: and what is more than waking
from a nebula of voices in your head, you,
completely unwhole, only remembering
what last words parted your forefinger
half lit with cancer: to earth, love
& unwholeness, this is all a finger seeks.

Iheoma Uzomba currently studies English and Literary Studies at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN). Aside losing herself to literary pieces and traveling from world to world in the books she reads, she takes writing to be lifestyle. Her works feature or are forthcoming on Kissing Dynamite, Fact-Simile editions, Dreich Magazine, the Muse (a print journal of creative and critical writing) and elsewhere.